Tuesday, January 7, 2014

More Brief Book Reviews!

There were some great reads in this bunch!

1. The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen Year Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida: This is a quick read and, more importantly, a touching insight into the world of an individual who has been diagnosed as autistic. While it is hailed as a must-read for those whose lives have been touched by autism, it also serves to facilitate understanding and acceptance for those who have no experience with this disorder. Higashida's thought process isn't always coherent, but this is revealing in itself. 

2. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender: Bender is a master at marrying the depressingly mundane and the absolutely outrageous,which I thoroughly enjoy. With that being said, this is a quirky novel and will not be well-received by everyone. Bender beautifully captures the unique bonds between a family burdened by highly unusual abilities as well as standard, run-of-the-mill familial issues. The plot is slow and occasionally seems nonexistent, and the lack of quotation marks might drive some mad. 

3. Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates: Teena Macguire and her daughter, Bethie, are violently attacked by a group of men on their way home through the park one fateful summer night. Through Teena and Bethie's story, Oates highlights the stigma of rape as well as the glaring flaws in the justice system. Like most of her work, this novel will make you uncomfortable with its raw portrayal of humanity.

4. Wonder by R. J. Palacio: Auggie is about to start fifth grade at a new school. He's your average, Star Wars-loving ten year old boy except for one thing- Auggie was born with a severe facial deformity. This is a sweet, uplifting story about acceptance that is told from a variety of different perspectives.

5. Horns by Joe Hill: This is my favorite book of 2013 (even though it was published in 2010). Hill tells us the story of Ignatius Perrish, a young man who is suspected of the rape and brutal murder of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams. Alienated from his former friends and townspeople who are convinced of his guilt, Perrish falls into a deep depression only to awaken one morning with a pair of horns growing from his temples. These horns give him the power to learn the darkest secrets and desires of anyone with whom he comes into contact. Perrish decides to use his terrible new power to exact his revenge and to find out who is responsible for Merrin's death. The premise is intriguing even if the jury is still out on what it all means. 

6. The Good House by Ann Leary: A pleasant enough read about an alcoholic Realtor, Hildy Good, who is coping with her disease while struggling to extract herself from a toxic, scandalous relationship between two mutual friends. 

7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: Dare I say it? I liked Rowell's version of teenage romance better than John Green's in The Fault in Our Stars. Eleanor and Park are two misfit teens who find comfort and joy in one another especially as Eleanor's world crumbles around her. This book is charming. 

8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Oh, Neil Gaiman, how could I have overlooked you for so long? This is an odd and wonderful story about a man who is allowed a glimpse at something terrible and beautiful as a child. Gaiman seamlessly merges childhood innocence and old knowledge, which is telling in itself. This is a thin novel that is lush with ideas. Just read it already!

Happy Tuesday!

Sharlene Edwards, Program Director